The baby that would have been

We lost a baby last week.  It wasn’t a baby that had been born–I was only 10 weeks along in pregnancy–but it was surely a baby that was taking shape in our heads.  It’s a wierd kind of grief, not for a child I knew, but one I’d imagined.  I’m not lain low, crying in a corner.  It’s more like little twinges of sadness, for the cookie recipe that won’t be passed down, and the Christmas stocking pattern that won’t be crocheted and have an owner.  I am simultaneously grateful for and irritated by the people that want to handle me with kid gloves, like I’m about to break.  I know they don’t know what to say, and are just feeling their way around my state of mind, trying to be kind and give me what I need.  I want to shout that I am just the same as I was last week.

Except, of course, I’m not.   

We hadn’t been trying for a baby.  This was a surprise.  A surprise that we both got excited about.  That makes it harder to lose.  But it also makes us feel like we are on surer footing about this whole parenthood thing.  Now we will try.  This lost baby can be the one that prepared the way for the baby to come.  The one that will make it.

Please God, let the next one make it.  The loss of one is bearable.  I’m not so sure that I could shrug off two. 

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The best meal I ever ate

I normally think of fine dining as occurring either in my own house with fancy recipes we’ve tried for fun, or more likely at restaurants where the price point comes with three dollar signs.  I can be a food snob.  But I was reminded recently of what I still consider to be the best meal I ever ate, and how judgments like that can be completely situational.

Way back in 2005, Mr. L and I (who were not yet Mr. and Mrs.) decided that Michigan was no longer the place we wanted to be, so we loaded up a U-haul and moved to Carolina–Columbia, in fact.  That sentence makes it sound easy, but in fact, it was a bit of a nightmare.  We packed up our possessions, loading a U-haul, attaching a car carrier, and filling another car with all of our stuff.  We are procrastinators; we should have gotten going on packing and purging weeks before we did, but we were lazy.  The price was two solid days of saying, “Oh my god, why do we own so much stuff? How are we going to get all of this in the truck?”  This was punctuated more than once by my sitting on the tailgate of the truck crying.  It sounds pretty pathetic in hindsight, but at the time, it was simply awful.

We finally got everything loaded and our apartment cleaned, got the dogs and the cat in the car, and started driving south nearly an entire day late.  We rode for 17 hours, me in the car, Mr. L in the truck with car hauler attached.  My cat meowed pitifully from inside her carrier for all 17 hours.  All 17.  I love her to pieces, but jeez, Louise! I wanted her to shut up.

Finally, after what seemed an enternity of gas and brake, gas and brake, traffic jams, getting lost, stopping and starting and once turning the truck around on the side of a mountain, accompanied by that infernal yowling, we drove into Columbia, South Carolina, our new hometown.  We had never seen our new apartment, and had chosen it simply for the convenience of it being owned by the same management company so we could transfer our lease.  We arrived to find the office closed, and had to wait for someone to come open up to give us keys to the new place, after which all of that loading had to be unloaded.  Upstairs, since the new place was on the 2nd floor, a fact I had forgotten.  

Just at the point that I was again about to sit down to sob on the fender, Mr. L said, “Hey, didn’t I see a Cracker Barrel across the street?”  We tossed the critters in the new apartment, locked the car and truck, and walked on over.  We were a mess–sweaty, road rumpled, at the point of complete mental exhaustion.  The hostess took us to a back table right away and said, “You look like you need some coffee.  I’ll send the waitress right over.”  The kind waitress came quickly to take care of drinks, then when we told her we were moving, said sincerely, “Welcome to South Carolina.  We’re so glad you are here!”  I then proceeded to order the most comfort-foody meal I could find on the menu: meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans, with little corn muffins on the side.   It was not gourmet food.  It was not fancy, or particularly creative, or organically grown and thoughtfully curated.  It was, however, an absolute balm to my weary soul.  It was a meal I will never forget, because it gave me respite and nourishment, and a sense that we were home now.  From here, it was all strawberry pie–which, by the way was also very good. We’d be okay.  And we have been, ever since.  

Meatloaf at Cracker Barrel.  A welcome port in life’s storm.  Best meal ever.


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Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Karen, the lovely seamstress over at Did You Make That?, had a pattern giveaway a couple of days ago, and guess who won!  That’s right, this girl!  So I now have a copy of Simplicity pattern 1606 on the way, which looks like this: 


Oooh, now I get to go to the fabric store to pick out just the right thing to make it out of. I’m thinking it needs to be something light and summery, but with a good drape. Hooray!


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What will I do with all this blessed zucchini?

Make zucchini pizza boats!
squash 6

Our CSA membership has been bringing us an embarrassment of riches in the form of zucchini and it’s cousin the tasty yellow squash, and as much as I love it, sauteed zucchini and garlic is starting to lose it’s lustre. So, easy peasy, I made zucchini pizzas.

First I cut a small zucchini and a small yellow squash into fat planks, laid them on a cookie sheet wrapped in foil, and drizzled them with olive oil and a little salt, like so.

I then put them in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes to cook them slightly. After removing them from the oven, I spooned marinara sauce on them. squash 2

Next, I laid on pepperoni slices.

Squash 3

Then I covered with cheese.

squash 4

Back in the oven they went for another 20 minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and brown, and the house smelled like Little Italy.
squash 5

I plated up, opened a bottle of beer, and enjoyed a quick summer dinner. Low stress, low carb, highly tasty!

squash 6


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Freedom from so many things

We spent this holiday weekend in Georgia packing up the contents of my father-in-law’s house.  He has recently married a very nice woman who is not any sort of packrat, and he seems to be relieved to move in to her house and just hand over everything from the old house to us. There is a lot of stuff there. I mean a LOT. So taking charge of it all has meant selling our old couch to make room for a very, very old antique side chair and end table, and moving around cabinets in our kitchen to make space for the oak secretary his grandfather built and the glass display cabinet his mother kept her china in, and totally rearranging our former office to make it a real guest bedroom, complete with his great-grandparents iron bed, and working out where to put the old treadle sewing machine.  And there are lots of tubs and boxes of little things that need to find some place to be.  It’s all very cool stuff, but gosh there’s so much of it!  And we didn’t take 1/4 of what was in the house.  My FIL will be having an auction to pare down the rest, which is mostly Christmas, Christmas, Christmas.  That was my deceased MIL’s favorite holiday, and the acres of lights and animatronic critters that inhabited her lawn and got her on the front page of the local paper every year will be up for sale.  I like to think of her Christmas spirit showing up in little bits on everyone’s lawn in town. Everybody get’s a piece of the Gingerbread House.  

I just realized that I think of that as her house, always her house, though it was their house together for 47 years–since they were teenagers.  She just had such a big personality that he faded into the background somehow, and was mown under by her preferences, her wants, her need for more and more things to fill the holes in her life.  And now he’s out front with his new wife and new life, lighter and happier than I have ever, ever known him to be.  So, we’ll help button up the past, and take responsibility for as much of the stuff as we can reasonably cram into our own house, and help to set him free of it.  Everyone gets to move on to the next leg of their journey.  And we get to give new love to the antiques, and set a few of them free ourselves.  

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In which I resolve to get crafty

Our house has become a pocket of chaos. My father-in-law has recently remarried, and so has moved out of his house and is planning on sending much of its contents home with us when we are there for the 4th of July. Since we know we have a ton of stuff coming in, much of which is of the antique, family heirloom variety, we are furiously rearranging and selling and redoing to make space.

The upside of all of this is that the black hole that was my desk has now been emptied, revealing the lovely tiger maple library table it really is. It’s now in the corner in the living room, and is the new home of my sewing machine and the bin of cloth that I keep meaning to turn in to fun new clothes. In celebration, I went out and bought myself the pattern to make this:


I have a really light ice blue crepe fabric that I think will flow nicely in this shape, and so it’s now my goal to put this dress together this summer, and figure out how one actually fits a pattern to themselves. My mom used to do this all the time, but she had my grandma or me to help with pinning. Mr. L may find himself taking a crash course in being the seamstress’s assistant. Or I might try to make one of these:


Likely there will be some frustration, as my sewing skills are a bit rusty. I’ll post results as I go, though. Here’s hoping for fun, and cheap new pretty dresses!

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Summer purse


Dear Ebay: Thank you for the fun new summer purse!

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May 18, 2013 · 12:29 pm